Toytles: Leaf Raking Progress Report – Holiday Talk

Here’s this week’s progress report for new updates to Toytles: Leaf Raking, my family-friendly leaf-raking business simulation available for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

Learn how to get it at the Toytles: Leaf Raking page.

Last week I reported that I finished adding the neighbor status indicators into the game.

All that remained to do was to create a new release for iOS and Android, test it, and publish it.

Sprint 13: Holiday-specific dialogue

Last week’s sprint plan was:

  • Create iOS release
  • Write blog post announcing release
  • Write email announcing release
  • Create holiday-specific dialogue

At the end of the previous week, I had created an Android build. I spent the earlier part of this week on creating the iOS build. In both cases, I installed the game on a physical device, then played the game until I was satisfied that things seemed to work more or less fine.

Then once I felt it was ready, I submitted it for review at the respective app stores, and then I published the announcements once they were ready to go live. Read more about it at the Toytles: Leaf Raking v1.4.3 announcement post.

Then I could start working on the current sprint’s actual goal, which was adding dialogue related to the current date of the calendar if it was special somehow.

I ended up not doing much. I worked long hours at the day job due to commitments at both the top of the morning and the late afternoon, which meant I did not work on game development at the times I normally would.

I did only 1.5 hours of game development, most of which was spent on getting the release published. I found that I had effectively taken most of the rest of the week off, even though I hadn’t wanted to. I found myself exhausted and needing to rest each day, and so I listened to my body.

In the future, I think I need to plan and make time for a periodic break instead of letting it happen.

I did finish the week my looking at my code related to dialogue and the calendar. Currently, I have an enum called DialogTag (I’m clearly still struggling with picking either dialogue or dialog, which depending on who you ask are both acceptable in North America. Alternatively I’m using dialog when I should be using dialogue). Each neighbor has a collection of things they say, each of which is tagged based on whether they are clients, ex-clients, prospects, etc.

Now I want to add dialogue that is tagged based on a calendar event. While I could add a tag for each holiday, I’d like to have one tag type for holidays, and then I would have a separate piece of data indicating which one.

There are 6 holidays, but I can create more, such as birthdays for the neighbors. Still, it isn’t like I’ll be adding hundreds of holidays, so it wouldn’t be so bad to hardcode a separate enum value for each holiday.

But then I start thinking about a neighbor getting excited the day before a holiday. Or being sad the day after.

Of course, what this kind of scope creep tells me is that there is still a lot of interpretation for how to handle the immediately work, and I need to remember that I can put something together that works now and slowly change it to do something that works later.

So hardcoded for now.

The other big thing I need to figure out is how to decide which dialogue to show. Up until now, a neighbor can say only one thing based on their status as a client. Since you can’t have a neighbor be both a client and a prospect or an ex-client, there was no choice to make. Only one option filtered out.

With dialogue based on the current date, however, now two options can be available at once. Perhaps clients and prospects should say the holiday-specific dialogue, and ex-clients say their normal ex-client dialogue? Or maybe only happy clients (clients who have no leaves in their yard) say more interesting things? Or perhaps holiday dialogue is said first, then followed by regular dialogue? Or regular dialogue followed by holiday dialogue? Or randomly choose among options, so sometimes a neighbor might talk about a holiday and sometimes they might not?

There’s clearly more I need to think about, but for now, thanks for reading!

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